Prince George Daily News: Fatimat Shidi first UNBC student to win Mitacs Globalink Research Award

Fatimat Almentina Ramos Shidi travelled from Prince George to France to discover answers to some complex questions.

A recent Master of Science – Biochemistry graduate from the University of Northern British Columbia, Shidi pursued the opportunity to study abroad due to the Mitacs Globalink Research Award. She is the first UNBC student to receive this award.

The award provides $6,000 in funding for senior undergraduate and graduate students in Canada to conduct 12-24 week research studies at universities abroad.

Originally from Brazil, Shidi spent three months in France collaborating with another researcher to help find some answers for her thesis.

“My biochemistry master’s thesis is about processing of messenger RNA (splicing), and one of my chapters was about the investigation of how this protein complex – the Sm complex – assembles,” Shidi says about her work. Some of her research results were not showing what she expected and she had heard about the Mitacs award, so Shidi talked to her supervisor, Chemistry professor Dr. Stephen Rader, about the possibility of collaborating with another researcher.

“He told me about this researcher in Montpellier, in the south of France, who works on a protein related to my project and that he could help me answer the questions I had regarding the assembly of the protein complex.”

Shidi applied for the Mitacs Globalink Research Award and was successful in getting this funding, which enabled her to spend three months in France, from May to July, doing research in the lab of Dr. Rémy Bordonné. “I went there pretty much to learn new techniques with him, and as well to be able to understand more what might be happening in the organism that we studied in the Rader lab,” she says.

Shidi says some of her friends have been too nervous about applying for the award because they perceive that there are too many other worthy applicants. However, it is worth pointing out that the goal of the Mitacs Award is to support trainees and the chances of being successful are better than one might think. She recommends applying for the award to anyone looking to gain unique experience in their field. “I would say the Mitacs Globalink Award is worth it, because you can improve yourself in your field professionally and definitely it’s going to be a good path for whatever you want to do in the future, whatever you want to achieve.”

In addition to being able to expand your network, gain experience in a new environment and increase your knowledge, the Mitacs award offers the opportunity to travel and study abroad, according to Shidi.

“I think it’s worth it, to take a form of your grad studies abroad, meet new people, and also learn a new culture and a new language, which I think that’s also really important.”

The Mitacs Globalink Research Award supports travel and research from Canada to universities in Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, the Middle East and the United States and Mexico. There are a number of programs available in different fields. To learn more, visit: